Around the world we have all faced ongoing challenges with the Covid 19 pandemic and it seems that with the new variant omicron the pandemic is not finished with us yet. In this context it is pleasing that the RSA community remains strong and together and in this holiday season letter I reflect on this.
I thank all those who have contributed to growing and sustaining our community in 2021, be they Board and Committee members, editors, speakers, referees, attendees, or members. In whatever capacity you have engaged with the RSA we are pleased to have worked with you in building our community, new friendships and professional relationships. I also give special thanks to our staff team who have again worked behind the scenes to bring us all together.
RSA membership now spans more than 80 countries, we are more international than ever. We’ve also run our largest ever event – our first e-Festival “Regions in Recovery I” which attracted more than 1,600 participants and ran over 2.5 weeks with 15 partners.
We launched our new events and engagement App called RSA HUB. This gives online access to 28 journals, access to events and allows members to connect with other members and non-members. Our webinar programme continues to provide both professional development and Regions, Cities and Industry sessions. The free-for-all online delivery has increased our inclusivity which is reflected in attendance numbers and geographical spread. The new International Hour webinars organised by our territories presents the latest on regional, urban development and policies to global audiences.
Our journals are at the core of the RSA and remain highly cited and downloaded. We have recruited a cohort of new and additional editors, including early career editors. We also ran successful annual journal lectures during November.
The RSA continues to recognise excellence in the field via its awards programme. You can see short videos of the 2021 winners here.
The RSA works collaboratively with RSA Europe which continues its knowledge mobilisation work with EU institutions and other European based partners. In 2022 we will be working together to deliver the third EU Cohesion Policy conference with DG Regio and with the Croatian Government.
2022 will further see the second edition of the Regions in Recovery e-Festival. We will again work with partners to bring together a fully online event for you to meet, network, and discuss research on re-imagining regions between 21st March – 1st April 2022. This fully virtual event responds both to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic and uneven abilities across the academy to travel to face-to-face events, and to the growing climate change crisis.
In a new 2022 initiative, we will partner with the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL), Research Centre Global Dynamics at Leipzig University and Saxon Academy of Sciences in organising events that focus on Central and Eastern Europe: Bridging Old and New Divides. The concluding conference will be hosted in Leipzig, Germany.
We have developed a library of professional development and regional content webinars that are freely available to members to view in the RSA Lounge. This is a new benefit for members.
Finally, the RSA continues to support researchers in the field with grants. To date, we have invested £1,071,000 (c. € 1,2 Mil, c. $1,4 Mil) in the community and funded 212 projects. Calls for 2022 are available here.
As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback on and for initiatives.
I am looking forward to another exciting year with the RSA and to meeting you at one of the RSA events in 2022.
Finally, may I extend the holiday season’s greetings to you,
Chair, Regional Studies Association
Some Comments from our Members in 2021
“We strongly believe that RSA community is the best platform to disseminate knowledge on regional studies and policy. And we would like to express our gratitude for RSA commitment in organising a vivid debate on regional and local issues in such difficult times. “
“Thank you all for your important work to make research possible – and for the most professionally organized webinar that I have ever been part of!”
“The RSA EC grant has helped me to carry out my research project successfully, increasing the impact and visibility of my research. I appreciated the valuable support I have received from the RSA team and the insightful feedback provided by the research committee in response to my grant reports. I also appreciated the flexibility and the willingness to accommodate my requests in light of the COVID-19 circumstances.”
“I’m blown away by your quick work and support. The RSA is a powerhouse!”
“We have really enjoyed working with you all over the last year or so and have really valued the support you have provided … Being part of the RSA ‘family’ has been a big positive for me in what has been a difficult time for everyone.”